Daniel Day Lewis brings passion and fire to Abraham Lincoln in a new trailer that deals with the most consequential political decision in the nation’s history. But is the portrayal accurate?
Director Steven Spielberg said he deliberately delayed releasing the picture until after this year’s presidential election to avoid turning it into “political fodder.” But he may be having second thoughts.
Lincoln came around to the abolitionist point of view reluctantly, but he saw the justice in it and he saw it as a way to give moral authority to the Union cause. After he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the civil war took on a whole new meaning.
It was no longer about state’s rights versus federal authority. It was about fundamental freedom and justice in a nation founded on the belief that all men are created equal. Spielberg makes that point right off the bat, using Lewis dialogue as Lincoln as a backdrop for a montage of modern day images, starting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Do you think we choose to be born? Or do we fit into the times we were born into?” he asked in a nasally tone that was uniquely Lincoln’s. Images of soldiers in Iraq, South African Leader Nelson Mandela, women suffragettes, Mahatma Gandhi, scenes from World War II and a memorial to Sept. 11 all stream by.
Lincoln believed slavery should be ended and tried to extinguish it at first by refusing to allow it in new territories. He proposed the 13th Amendment, which became part of his party platform for the 1864 election, after issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But he was never an abolitionist, according to detailed histories of the time.
Although little known today, the presidential executive order only applied to the 10 states in rebellion. Other states were exempted. The 13th amendment, enacted by Congress in Dec. 1865 after his death, finally and fully abolished slavery. The question is will the film overplay Lincoln’s role?
Historical details aside, the question arises who was more Lincolnesque in last night’s debate between Republican Mitt Romney and President Obama?
Check out the trailer below and let us know your thoughts. And, click here to follow TheImproper on Twitter for more film updates.